Starman debuted in Adventure Comics #61 in 1941 during the Golden Age of Comics. He is the superhero persona of Ted Knight, a wealthy physicist who invented a “gravity rod” that allowed him to fly and manipulate energy. He initially fought crime as a vigilante, but later became a member of the Justice Society of America, a team of Golden Age heroes that included the original versions of Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman.
My copy of Adventure Comics #65 includes the Starman story “The Mystery of the Undersea Terror.” It tells the tale of Woodley Allen, who is under intense pressure from his superiors to solve the mystery of the League of the Octopus, an agency responsible for sinking 30 ships through unknown means. In a desperate move, Allen reaches out to Starman for help, who gladly accepts the opportunity to escape the daily act of feigning illness to hide his true career from Doris.
Starman goes undercover as a sailor on the next ship scheduled to travel through the dangerous area where the previous attacks occurred. When the ship is attacked, Starman switches to his costume and flies above a strange gas cloud, which knocks out the rest of the crew. Starman recognizes the cloud as the purple flare, a concoction only available to one man, his dreaded enemy, The Light.
As an aquatic fortress rises from the ocean, men board the stricken vessel. Starman infiltrates their craft but finds himself sealed in a room that floods before he’s attacked by a vicious octopus. After killing the beast with an energy blast from his gravity rod, Starman escapes and discovers that The Light leads the group.
The Light picks up Starman’s dropped gravity rod and attempts to use it against his nemesis. However, in pressing the wrong button, The Light is knocked down by the recoil. Starman reclaims his weapon and rescues the survivors from the captured ships, who help him seize control of the League’s fortress.
Ted Knight is eventually succeeded as Starman by his son David Knight in the 1990s critically acclaimed reboot titled “Starman” written by James Robinson and published by DC Comics.